The Provincial Ball for West Lancashire has been held for the fourth year in a row at the De Vere Whites Hotel in the Reebok stadium in Horwich. This year's celebration was possibly one of the most enjoyable in its 153-year history.
The re-introduction of a reception for Masters and First Principals was very well received by both the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, and his senior officers.
The staff at the De Vere Whites Hotel seemed even more friendly and attentive than last year, and the bars in the two reception suites were well stocked and the service was very good.
After the reception over 500 Masters, First Principals, brethren, companions and their ladies from across the Province were invited by the Deputy Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies to take their seats in the Premier Suite for the banquet.
When the brethren had taken their seats Keith Kemp (ProvGDC) asked everyone present to stand to receive the president, vice president, chairman and vice chairman of the 153rd Grand Masonic Ball.
Peter Hosker and his wife Julie then led the Provincial party into the Premier Suite where they took their seats for a sumptuous four course dinner.
After the meal, thanks were expressed to the many people who had helped organise the Ball. Starting with the music supplied by Quayside Jazzmen during the reception, Ray Dainton for providing the piano music during dinner and the Pyramid Band who were providing the music later in the evening. Then all the members of the organising committee were thanked, particularly David Lea (secretary) and Glynn Wrenall (event co-ordinator), and flowers were presented to Alma Lea and Eunice Wrenall.
Before dancing commenced to the Pyramid Band, everyone joined in the Grand March led by Peter Hosker and his wife Julie.
After the Grand March the dance floor filled and a great evening was enjoyed by all.
Brian Todhunter, a member of Tuscan Oak and Lambert Head Lodge No. 6387, which meets at Pemberton Masonic Hall in Wigan has been invested with the Royal Victorian Order Medal.
Brian played a significant part in the Queen's Jubilee celebrations by leading the team of engineers which restored the Royal Yacht Royal Barge which carried the Queen and Prince Phillip as part of the Thames pageant on that very special day.
The Royal Victorian Order recognises distinguished personal service to the monarch or members of her family. Established in 1896 by Queen Victoria, the order has five hierarchical grades and one medal with three levels, each representing a different level of service.
Brian, who is a member of the Royal Yacht Association, was specially re-called and selected for the task to ensure that the barge, which had not seen service for over 15 years, was restored it to its former pristine condition. For his personal service to the sovereign he was awarded the prestigious Royal Victoria Medal (Silver) which is awarded to non-commissioned officers of HM Forces. Brian served for a period on the Royal Yacht Britannia when it was still in service.
His Royal Highness Prince Charles conducted Brian’s investiture at Buckingham Palace and during a conversation, Prince Charles recalled that using the Royal Barge and escort boats from HMY Britannia had brought back many happy memories for him, Her Majesty the Queen and the Duke of Edinburgh.
Members of St Oswald Lodge No. 5170 were the first to see a newly restored copy of the extremely rare 1769 edition of the Book of Constitutions
Lodge members had been so impressed by a talk given by Vic Charlesworth on the creation of a museum at Warrington Masonic Hall that they resolved to help him in whatever way they could.
His hard work to restore a particularly rare edition of the Book of Constitutions – so rare in fact that even the Library and Museum of Freemasonry does not have a copy – struck a chord with those present, however the book was in several pieces and needed to be professionally rebound, the work estimated to cost more than £200.
After the talk, and without Vic’s knowledge, those present decided to help restore the illustrated book to its former glory. They had a whip round and in no time at all had raised £120. Within a couple of days further donations had been received and the remainder of the money had been donated.
Because of their generosity and initiative, Vic decided that the members of St Oswald Lodge should be the first to see the restored book, and he presented it at their next lodge meeting in order to thank them in person for their support.
Following his successful restoration of the Royal Barge, Brian Todhunter of Tuscan Oak and Lamberthead Lodge No. 6387 (which meets in at Pemberton Masonic Hall, Wigan) has been awarded the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) in the Queens Jubilee Honours list.
Brian has been selected for the award following his work in organising the restoration of the Royal Yacht Britannia’s Royal barge and escort boats, which were used by Her Majesty the Queen during the Thames River Pageant.
Queen Victoria established the Royal Victorian Medal in April 1896 as a reward for personal service to the Sovereign or the Royal Family, and as a mark of royal esteem. The Medal is conferred upon civilians and non-commissioned military personnel. Although the Medal is related to the Royal Victorian Order, it differs in appearance and in the way it is worn.
The Royal Victorian Medal is awarded in silver gilt (gold), silver and bronze - in most circumstances, the Silver Medal is awarded - and recipients are permitted to use the post-nominal RVM.
Brian said that he was 'surprised, but delighted' when he was informed of the award, and he is really looking forward to receiving it at Buckingham Palace later this year.
William Richard Seddon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master for West Lancashire, celebrated 50 years as a Freemason at Preston Masonic Hall before a packed lodge room at a special meeting of Preston Guild Lodge No. 4408
Not only was Bill’s golden anniversary celebrated, the Lodge's banner was re-dedicated. The banner is traditionally re-dedicated in a year when the Preston Guild is held. This year the Lodge celebrates 90 years of existence and the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, was present to lead the proceedings.
Peter spoke a few words before the banner was brought into the room, along with the banners of Commercial Travellers Lodge No. 3493 and Forest of Fulwood Lodge No. 6388, with whom Preston Guild amalgamated in 2004.
He then called upon Rev Graham Halsall as Provincial Grand Chaplain to give an Oration, which Graham delivered with his usual sincere style.
Peter then gave an overview of the Lodge history: 'Preston Guild Lodge was consecrated on 20 June 1922, a year in which Preston celebrated its Guild, a fact that was instrumental in deciding the name of the Lodge. This was reinforced with the dedication of the Lodge banner featuring the Victorian Preston Town Hall as its centrepiece on 16 November 1927.
'At the time of the next Guild in 1952 the Lodge marked the occasion and its 30th year anniversary with a presentation of the history of the Lodge by W Bro Pomfret. This was followed by a special festive board at which some 160 brethren dined.
'Having set the format, at the next Guild year in 1972 was marked by the consecration of Preston Guild Chapter and the Lodge celebrated its 50 years anniversary.
'The next Guild year in 1992, was marked by a special demonstration by the Burnley and District Ritual Demonstration Team circa 1759. That was combined with the Lodge's 70th anniversary which was again followed by a special banquet.
'In 2004 the Lodge amalgamated with Commercial Travellers Lodge No. 3493 and Forest of Fulwood Lodge No. 6388, whose banners will in a few moments accompany the Preston Guild banner into the Lodge.
'Preston is now celebrating its 2012 Guild year, and the Lodge its 90th anniversary. It is also Bill Seddon's golden anniversary. Bill has specifically requested that the Lodge continue with the tradition of marking the Lodge's Guild years by, on this occasion, holding a Lodge banner re-dedication ceremony prior to his celebrations.'
The banner was then re-dedicated and handed over to the Lodge Worshipful Master, Keith Jackson.
Peter then said the highlight of the evening had now arrived - to celebrate 50 years of service to Freemasonry of one William Richard Seddon.
Peter continued: 'One of my great pleasures and privileges in Freemasonry is to take the WM's chair and lead the celebrations for brethren who are celebrating 50, 60, 70 and, dare I say it, 80 years of service in and to Freemasonry. I feel that against these landmarks my own service pales into insignificance at a mere 44 years.
As Provincial Grand Master, I had anticipated that my involvement in such celebrations would, sadly, become very few and far between. I say sadly because such celebrations are always interesting and they have invariably enabled me to learn so much more about each celebrant than might otherwise be the case, and in so doing appreciate more completely the rich and fulfilling lives that they have led. As it has happened, during my first four years as ProvGM I have in fact continued to lead the celebrations for many distinguished Freemasons, and I have greatly enjoyed all of them. Tonight I have the pleasure and privilege of leading the celebrations for another distinguished brother, my good friend good friend Bill Seddon, PSGD, PAsstProvGM.'
Peter then asked the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies to place W Bro William Richard Seddon before him so that he could address him.
'Bill, was born on 21 January 1941. How appropriate that we are holding this celebration in the 2012 Preston Guild Year, because it is well known that you were born and bred in Preston, and proud of it. I too was born in Preston, and at the beginning of September this year Julie and I attended several of the Guild events. I am so pleased that the Lodge has continued with the tradition of marking the Lodge's Guild years by, on this occasion, holding a lodge banner re-dedication ceremony prior to your celebration. Indeed, I think it was Bill who specifically requested that this been done.'
Peter continued: 'Bill's overriding passion is for his wife Christine and his family, comprising two sons Andrew and David, and three grandsons and two granddaughters.
'However, brethren, unless you are aware of it, you may think that Bill is quite rational and well-adjusted, and yet he has a peculiar interest — some would say a fanciful and dreamlike interest — in Preston North End, where he has been a season ticket holder for 63 years. I suggest that the total money he has spent on season tickets over 63 years would now be sufficient to buy the club outright!
'Christine and Bill have been married for 45 years — but she is still unconvinced of the longevity of Bill's support for a football team, although she accepts that both sons and two eldest grandsons are committed supporters of Preston North End, especially with their second grandson this season being a ball boy at Deepdale for first team games!
'For over 30 years Bill has enjoyed "treading the boards" in amateur dramatics. Bill’s interest is with The Club Players at Broughton and District Club in Broughton, north of Preston, and for 27 of those years he was honorary treasurer of the Club Players.
'In 1990 he became President of Broughton and District Club in its centenary year, and that summer Christine and Bill were able to attend a garden party at Buckingham Palace on a gloriously hot summer afternoon.
'Bill, belongs to the Church of Christ Church Fulwood, a member of the Parochial Church Council and Chairman of the Church Hall Building Committee which was originally charged with raising something approaching £120,000 to regenerate the Church Hall! Life has its difficulties — the committee was formed at the beginning of what turned out to be the banking crisis, but despite this much of the money has been raised, including a grant from the WLFC towards the cost of a totally refurbished disabled toilet. A previous application to WLFC in respect of other work had been rejected. If at first you don't succeed…
'Bill attended Harris Primary School in Fulwood and then Hutton Grammar School, and his first day at HGS coincided with the arrival of a new Headmaster, Charles W Lloyd, PAGDC, later Headmaster of Dulwich College.
'In the law, Bill was an old fashioned "Five years man", and served his Articles of Clerkship as a Solicitor with his father, who later introduced him into Freemasonry. Bill passed his solicitors' final examination in November 1961, two months before his 21 birthday. In those days you could not be enrolled as a solicitor until you were 21 years of age and had completed your Articles of Clerkship. Bill’s articles expired on 8 March 1962, so he was able to be enrolled the following month. I can tell you that in 1962, the 1 April fell on a Sunday, so Bill was actually admitted the next day and his first Practising Certificate is dated 2 April 1962 not on April Fools' Day!
'Much to his surprise, at the end of April 2012 Bill received a certificate from the president of the Law Society congratulating him on having been on the Roll of Solicitors for 50 years.
'And so to Freemasonry. Bill was initiated into Preston Guild Lodge on 19 September 1962 by his father, who had been Master in 1959/60. Bill himself became Master in November 1974, just two months after his father's death.'
At this point Peter said: 'I am well aware that becoming Master was both a very proud and a very sad day for you. I invite the Secretary to read out the minutes of the meeting held on 19 September 1962.'
The Secretary then read the minutes of the meeting of 19 September, 1962.
'Bill spent eight years as a Past Master until he was appointed acting ProvJGD in 1983. The following year he was appointed ProvDepGDC. He came into the Royal Arch in 1976, when he was exalted into Preston Guild Chapter later that year.
'In the Craft, Bill was appointed to Grand Rank as PAGReg in 1989, promoted to PJGD in 1997, and further promoted to PSGD in 1998. In the Royal Arch, he became PGStdB in1991, and was promoted to PAGSoj in 2000.
'From 1990 Bill served as joint Vice Chairman of the Preston Group. In those days there were two Vice Chairmen, and Peter reminded Bill that he was his junior vice chairman.
'He was appointed as Assistant to the Grand Superintendent in the Royal Arch from 1993 to 1997, with responsibility for the Chapters in the Preston and Leyland Groups. He relinquished that office on being appointed Assistant Provincial Grand Master in May 1997 from which office he retired in 2008. Initially, Bill had responsibility for the lodges in the Preston Group and then from 2003 also for those in the Chorley and District Group.
'Bill also holds high rank in several other masonic orders.'
Peter then invited the Chairman of the Preston Group, Stan Rigby, to read out the certificate in his possession.
After the citation had been read, Peter went on to say: 'Bill, over the years our paths have crossed on many occasions. In the law, where we both practised as solicitors in Preston; in Freemasonry, where you attended my initiation in 1968 in the Preston Group, in the Province, and at Grand Lodge and Supreme Grand Chapter; and as friends Bill, you are much loved and respected in every walk of life through which you have walked. I salute you as a man and a mason and I know that everyone will join me in offering warmest congratulations to you on this special night.'
The brethren retired to the festive board where Bill was delighted to be able to respond to the toast to his health.
Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker paid tribute to Colin Penty Wright describing him as “one of the finest Provincial Grand Masters that this Province has ever known”
Colin, who was Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire from 1997 to 2008, died on Friday, 21 September at the age of 76.
Peter said: “At 4am this morning we all lost a very good friend. That good friend was Colin Penty Wright who died peacefully at St John’s Hospice, a place that he knew well. My thoughts immediately go to his widow Kathryn his two sons Stephen and Kevin and the family. And we offer them our sincere condolences.
About two years ago I lead the celebrations for Colin Wright when he celebrated his 50 years anniversary in Freemasonry. Those who were present and who later read my address to him could not fail to realise that this was a man and a Mason of considerable stature, much loved and respected by all. He was our Provincial Grand Master from 1997 to 2008 and he will be remembered as one of the finest Provincial Grand Masters that this Province has ever known. His funeral arrangements are likely to be a private family funeral and a memorial service at a later date.”
Peter was on the Northern Tour with other leaders of the Province. They attended the Lancashire Group Dinner on the evening of Colin’s death, where Peter paid tribute to Colin at the dinner and brethren stood in memory of departed merit.
Colin was initiated into Poulton Hall Lodge No. 6647 in December 1958 and became its Worshipful Master in 1974. He also enjoyed membership of Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7755 (WM in 1990), Lathom Lodge No. 2229 (WM in 2001), Poulton le Sands Lodge No. 1051 and was a founder of Plantagenet Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9357 (WM in 1992).
His exaltation into the Royal Arch came in 1965 in Sandylands Chapter No. 502 and was First Principal in 1977. He was also a member of Setantia Chapter of First Principals No. 7755 (First Principal in 1996) and Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 8966.
Colin’s talents were soon recognised by the Province and he was invested as the Provincial Senior Grand Warden in 1979. Seven years later he was appointed as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master and then served as Deputy Provincial Grand Master from 1995 to 1997.
In Grand Lodge he was made a Past Assistant Grand Registrar in 1988 and as an Assistant Provincial Grand Master was promoted to the rank of Past Senior Grand Deacon in 1988 and when he became Deputy Provincial Grand Master was invested as a Past Grand Sword Bearer.
Colin served the Royal Arch as the Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in 1983 and became Deputy Grand Superintendent in 1993. In 1984 he was made a Past Assistant Grand Sojourner and served as Grand Sword Bearer in 1994-1995.
On 2 July 1997 Colin was invested as Provincial Grand Master for the Province of West Lancashire and was head of the largest Province under the United Grand Lodge of England until 12 June 2008. He also served as Grand Superintendent in and over the Royal Arch Province of West Lancashire at the same time.
Sometime last year whilst browsing online newspapers, Colin Shannon of Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No. 1473 read an article about the 2012 Olympic Opening Ceremony and how the organisers were looking for volunteers.
Colin’s application was accepted and he was invited to 3 Mills TV studio in London for an audition where he performed various pieces of choreography and other routines.
The following day, he received an email calling him back for a second audition where the choreography was more complex. Six weeks later whilst on holiday in India with his wife Vilma, the email came through confirming he had been successful. It was champagne all around that night.
He was to have 26 rehearsals and due to the timings of them, would mean about 40 nights in London. It was a huge commitment to make and meant he would have to make some adjustments. Fortunately, he did not have to miss too many lodge meetings and, being a once in a life time opportunity, he accepted.
His first rehearsals were at 3 Mills. That was where he first met Danny Boyle as he explained his vision and what he hoped to achieved. Danny was hands on all the time and Colin saw him at most of the rehearsals. He was very approachable and spent a lot of time 'chatting' in general to people. It was whilst he was at 3 Mills that he had his costume fit.
His next rehearsal site was on a piece of ground at the old Ford plant in Dagenham. The area was set up with a big top to have talks, leave bags etc. Outside there were two areas set up each the size of the area of the stadium enabling two segments of the show to be rehearsed at the same time.
Eventually, rehearsals were moved to the stadium itself. Walking into the stadium for the first time and seeing his segment set out in the centre of it brought it home as to what they were doing. Colin says that when he was in the centre, just looking around at all the stands and seats it sent a shiver down him knowing that there would be 80,000 people sitting there watching them in addition to the 1,000,000,000 or so people around the world on TV.
After a few rehearsals there, the time came for his first dress rehearsal in front of an invited audience of 40,000. Lined up in the vomitory waiting the cue to go out, Colin says he could see the stands on the opposite side of the stadium full of people. That, the general music, lighting effects and then the sudden beating of the drums was a sure way of getting the adrenalin flowing. After receiving his cue, they went out fully focused on their roles. Colin said he could not describe the feelings he, and others, had when the audience applauded them.
The following dress rehearsal was even more intense as the participants had been given tickets for their families to attend. That was to an audience of 60,000.
The big day of the opening ceremony came. When they were called to go to the stadium, he recalls it was very impressive to see thousands of people in the various costumes walking to the stadium en mass. His section, which was the industrial revolution, had a thousand people involved all dressed in old style working clothes, then there was the NHS section all dressed in old nurses’ uniforms. Following them was a variety of costumes from the different eras of music.
Before entering the stadium they were held in another area of the Olympic Park. As they walked through the park and approached the stadium, the world’s media was lined up alongside the route filming and photographing them. Some of were stopped for a quick interview. Colin gave a quick interview to an Australian TV company. Closer to the stadium, there were volunteer workers lining the route, applauding and wishing them good luck.
Lined up ready to go on, the atmosphere was electric. As his group reached the end of their segment after performing their choreography, the choreographer Steve Boyd spoke through their in-ear monitors and said how amazing they looked and pointed out that they were the closest people on the entire planet to the Olympic rings. All too soon it was over and after their bow, they left the stage
Colin says “The entire journey from getting invited to the first audition, to final bow has been an incredible experience, it is one I will never forget and one that I felt honoured to have been part of.”
A few weeks later Colin also took part in the opening ceremony of the Paralympic Games.
Attendance exceeded all records this year as 1,000s of visitors enjoyed the seventh annual Hope Street Feast which was blessed with a dry start but a wet afternoon.
The curiosity of the public was undiminished as record numbers took the opportunity to visit the Liverpool Masonic Hall which once again opened its doors to all-comers. The lounge bar was thronged with visitors who were able to enjoy the full bar and refreshment facilities provided by the hardworking hall catering staff. In addition to cold refreshments, the servings of traditional hot ‘scouse’ and red cabbage, beef curry, and meat balls were as popular as ever and the many customers kept the catering staff busy throughout the day.
The West Lancashire Regalia shop was manned by members of the committee who reported brisk sales of both masonic and non-masonic items. This store now has a considerable inventory and is able to supply all masonic items. Chairman Derek Cadwallader and secretary Mike Melling assisted by Eric Poole were pleased to answer many queries and talk about Freemasonry with the many visitors and customers. Derek said: 'Sales benefitting Masonic halls were greater this year than for any previous Feast. I am really pleased.'
Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals Paul Shepherd, Liverpool vice-chairman Steve Walls, group treasurer Steve Kayne and Liverpool Masonic Hall Chairman John Roberts gave members of the public continual conducted tours throughout the day of the lodge rooms and facilities of the hall. They also answered the many questions posed by visitors regarding the theory and practice of the Craft. It is estimated that over 1,500 visitors received the tours of the hall. Chairman John Roberts said: 'People who toured the hall were really complimentary and appreciated the opportunity they had to see inside this magnificent building.'
Other volunteers assisted by sitting in their regalia in the lodge offices to help explain the layout of lodge rooms. Masonic history expert Geoff Cuthill was on hand at the War Memorial to explain to visitors the valiant contributions made by Liverpool masons to the defence of the realm in battle and to expound on other historic events in Freemasonry.
These tours proved extremely popular and long queues quickly developed to view the magnificently Corinthian, Roman and Egyptian suites. The War Memorial and long hall which contains a museum of historic masonic artefacts proved a fascination for many of the visitors. It was quite apparent that many of the them were deeply interested in Freemasonry judging by the depth and types of questions being asked of and answered by the tour guides.
This year recruitment to the Craft was boosted by the presence of the Provincial trailer manned throughout the day by the very hardworking group membership officers David Sullivan and Paul Rattigan. Both did a superb job of being the friendly faces and first contacts for potential new members. They distributed leaflets containing information about Freemasonry and encouraged members of the public to tour the Hall. A large number of enquiries were made regarding membership and requesting further details.
Assistant Provincial Grand Master Stanley Oldfield accompanied by his wife Marlene were on hand throughout the day to support and encourage the hardworking volunteers.
Promotion has come quickly for Mersey Valley Lodge of Installed Masters No. 9057 (which meets in Warrington, Widnes, St Helens and Leigh in the Province of West Lancashire) member John Bartley since becoming a member of Probus Ante Meridiem Lodge No. 9195.
Just 11 weeks after he became a joining member of Ante Meridiem Lodge which meets only four times a year, John was installed as Worshipful Master at the meeting in the Masonic Hall, Sidcup, in the Province of West Kent.
Among the many guests present was Derek Hunt who travelled more than 220 miles from Warrington to see his friend of 50 years installed. Derek gave the address to the Worshipful Master who he proposed into Mersey Valley shortly after its consecration in 1983. John has been a regular visitor to Derek’s mother lodge - St Oswald Lodge No. 5170 which also meets in Warrington for more than four decades.
It will be a special year for John for apart from being Worshipful Master he will also be celebrating his 80th birthday.
Despite John’s apparent rapid promotion, he was not a newcomer to Sidcup as he has been a tyler there for several lodges for some time. At the committee meeting where John’s application to become a joining member was on the agenda he was asked if he would like to progress in the Lodge. He said he would so at the next meeting when the ballot took place for him to join he also became master elect!
John joined Freemasonry in Cheshire in Egremont Lodge No. 2872 in 1959 and became its WM in 1973. He was appointed as a Past Provincial Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies in the Province of Cheshire in 1984.
In 2004 John and his wife Jeanette moved from the north to Masonic accommodation in Aylesbury and in 2009 he was exalted into River Chapter No. 5126 in the Province of Buckinghamshire. Following his wife’s death John moved to the Duke of Kent Court in Chislehurst to be nearer his daughter and his skills as a tyler were soon in demand.
He is tyler at Sidcup for Alma Lodge No. 9792, Burnt Ash Lodge No. 6285, Falconwod Lodge No. 5826 and Sydney Lodge No. 829. He is also janitor at Sidcup for Bexley Heath Chapter No. 4918, Burnt Ash Chapter No. 6285, Ideal Endeavour Chapter No. 7379, Manor Way Chapter No. 6161 and Sydney Chapter No. 829. He is also tyler at Great Queen Street for St James Union Lodge No. 180.
When John completed 50 years as a Freemason he was sent a commemorative certificate by the Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, Peter Hosker, which was presented to him by David Bearman, an Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Kent at a coffee morning in the home where John lived.
John is planning to join Probus Ante Meridiem Chapter in September but is not expecting rapid promotion there.
Over 80,000 people are expected to visit Southport Flower Show this year, to see the gardens designed by two youngsters in a competition sponsored by the West Lancashire Freemasons
The prestigious David Bellamy School Garden Competition has been won this year by Jessica Simpson from Ashbridge Independent School in Preston and Mia Hodkinson and Emma Chapman who made a joint entry from Stanton Road Primary School in the Wirral. The competition is held each year in association with Southport Flower Show and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, and gives a chance for the gardeners of the future to create a garden for the show each year. It is open to all primary school children in years 5 and 6 across the North West, and this year’s competition was entered by 276 children across Lancashire, Cheshire, Manchester and Merseyside.
The two winning designs, chosen by a panel of judges, were once again constructed by a professional garden company and were there for all to see when the show opened on Thursday 16 August.
The two winners, their families and their teachers were invited to the show to meet Professor David Bellamy OBE and be presented with £500 to enhance their school grounds, and a £50 gift voucher for themselves.
The head teacher, from Ashbridge Independent School, Hilary Sharples, said: "This is the first time our school has entered the competition and we're extremely proud that one of our students has won - it is fantastic to see the garden come to life at the show. This is a great competition giving children the opportunity to link their design skills with a love of wildlife and horticulture - encouraging creativity while also helping the planet.”
Ashbridge Independent School plan to use the £500 to develop an area within their grounds which will encourage bees and butterflies to visit the school and nursery, and also to extend the wildflower meadow for the youngest children in the baby unit.
Peter Hosker, Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, and President of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity said: ”We are delighted to have once again had the opportunity of sponsoring this very prestigious competition. As Freemasons we support many community projects and to get children involved in gardening is very worthwhile.”
Members of Hesketh Lodge, No. 950, Province of West Lancashire, called in on John Funk, 105, at his home in St Annes, to celebrate his remarkable 80 years in Freemasonry.
John applied to join a Fleetwood lodge at 21, but such was the popularity of Freemasonry at that time, and with only two lodges in the town, he had to wait for five years to join, otherwise his years in the Craft would have been greater. He is the last remaining founder of Lathom Lodge, No. 6286, in Ormskirk and, together with other prominent masons, purchased the building that is now the masonic hall.
Eight days after celebrating his 100th birthday Cyril McGibbon was installed as Worshipful Master of one of the oldest lodges in the Province of West Lancashire - the Lodge of Perseverance No.155.
This lodge, which meets in the Britannia Adelphi Hotel in the centre of Liverpool, dates from 1803 and has several unique traditions, one of which is that the only guests to the installation are invited by the new Worshipful Master. It was also the first time that any member has served as Worshipful Master on two occasions.
To mark this extraordinary occasion this tradition was broken and an open invitation issued for the first time in the lodge’s history. The membership of this venerable lodge is restricted to 25 brethren and the fact that there were 125 attendees, 23 members and 102 guests gives testimony to the high regard and affection felt by the Freemasons of West Lancashire for Cyril McGibbon.
An inspection of the Masonic year book will immediately show the calibre of the members, which includes a large number of Grand Officers many of whom have held high acting Provincial offices as well.
Indeed Cyril’s Masonic CV is very impressive. He was initiated in 1951 into his mother lodge University Lodge of Liverpool and was installed as its Master in 1964. In 1970 the then Provincial Grand Master, Sir Knowles Edge Bt recognised his qualities in appointing him as Provincial Senior Grand Warden Barely had Cyril relinquished that position when he was appointed as Assistant Provincial Grand Master an appointment that he held from 1973 to 1987, a run of 15 years continuous service. Prior to this Cyril became a joining member in 1971 of Lathom Lodge No 2229 and Setentia Lodge of Installed Masters No 7755 and then in 1974 joined The Lodge of Perseverance, becoming Master of this lodge for the first time in 1976.
The calibre of the members of Lodge of Perseverance would eclipse most meetings but this evening the calibre of the guests has exceeded that of the members. Principal guest was Howard Jones (Deputy Provincial Grand Master) accompanied by Colin Wright (Past Provincial Grand Master), Brian Gillbanks and Michael Hill, both of whom are Past Deputy Provincial Grand Masters and four Assistant Provincial Grand Masters Phil Gunning ,Tony Bent, Tony Harrison and Roy Skidmore. It should also be pointed out that another tradition of the Lodge of Perseverance is that all members and guests, no matter what their rank, are clothed in Entered Apprentice aprons.
After opening the lodge the Worshipful Master Robert Hall greeted the principal guest and proffered the gavel which was immediately returned. The normal business of the lodge was conducted during this part of the ceremony the lodge was introducing a joining member. Once the business was transacted the only Entered Apprentice retired and the lodge was then opened in the Second Degree.
The Master elect, Cyril McGibbon, Past Senior Grand Deacon, Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master of the Province of West Lancashire was the presented by Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master John Moore to the Installing Master Robert Hall who, after congratulating Cyril on his election to Master elect proceeded with the installation ceremony. Having been installed in the chair of the worthy lodge in a very dignified manner by his predecessor Cyril was then invested with the Hall Stone Jewel of the lodge. As is customary an explanation of the origin and meaning of the jewel was delivered, on this occasion by John Price.
On completion of the ceremony of installation Howard then rose to deliver the congratulations and thanks of the Provincial Grand Master to Cyril which on this occasion took the form of a personal letter expressing his profound regret at being unable to attend the installation ceremony in person.
Before closing the lodge Cyril took the opportunity to thank the members for all their work and the multitude of guests for their support. He also informed the gathering that he had received 91 cards on his birthday which were decorating his dining room, at least until the end of the month! With such a large number he was unable to reply to them all but as a larger number of senders were present, he thanked them verbally.
The lodge was then duly closed and although there is no formal recession normally, all stood to allow the new master to retire first. The assembly were then transferred to the dining room where after the drinks were served an excellent meal was served by the hotel.
Another tradition of this lodge is that there are only three formal toasts and no others, yet another tradition was a casualty of this special evening when the Installing Master then with a few short words proposed a toast to the health of the newly Installed Worshipful Master. Cyril was then called upon to respond which he duly did. Citing some of the founding principles of the Lodge of Perseverance he concluded by thanking all the members of the lodge for their hard work, in particular the lodge's Director of Ceremonies, Sidney Ford, and his wife who had manufactured 70 extra white aprons for the occasion. He also thanked all the brethren for making a special day unforgettable. On taking his seat all those present rose and gave a prolonged acclamation to a very special man and Freemason.
A warm sunny June day heralded the long awaited arrival of the centenary meeting of Ansdell Lodge No. 3607 on Tuesday 19 June 2012 at the Palace, Garden Street, St Anne's
Following a strenuous rehearsal under the direction of Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies Keith Kemp, the new team were licked into shape, and afterwards, Ansdell Lodge members gathered for a souvenir photograph in the lodge room.
The 5pm start was strictly adhered to and 137 brethren gathered to celebrate this historic landmark occasion, one hundred years to the day since the consecration. Worshipful Master David Randerson proudly opened the meeting of the lodge, following which the dispensation was read.
The Provincial Grand Directors of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp, then entered the temple and informed the brethren that Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master stood outside the lodge and demanded entrance. David said he would be pleased to receive him and Howard accompanied by a full strength Provincial team of the new acting officers then entered the lodge room in a magnificent and colourful procession on their first official duty since their appointment at Provincial Grand Lodge in May.
David offered Howard the gavel, which he accepted and occupied the WM’s chair. Howard then outlined the reasons for the meeting and asked the Provincial Grand Secretary, Geoffrey Lee to read the centenary warrant and explain the centenary jewel, following which he presented the warrant and first Jewel to WM David Randerson. The brethren were then given permission to wear their centenary jewel.
Howard then called upon the Deputy Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Canon Godfrey Hirst to give an Oration (his first in his new office). Godfrey related a recent visit to the cinema which told the story of the journey of life through the eyes of seven retired people in the film the Best Exotic Marigold Hotel. Godfrey related the 100 years of change the members of the lodge had undergone to the story in the film.
The ceremony then took an unexpected turn when Howard asked Keith to place John Porter the lodge Directors of Ceremonies in front him and following a short history of John’s masonic CV and an outline of his attributes and sterling work for the lodge and the group, Howard promoted John to the high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden, which was greeted with acclamation from the assembled Brethren.
Next followed a prayer of rededication led by Godfrey and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Howard returned the gavel to David who thanked Howard for his attendance and handed him a cheque for £3,607 in favour of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity which was greeted with enthusiastic acclamation by the brethren.
John Porter then gave a short history of the lodge from its beginnings in June 1912, outlining the important work of the early founders in establishing strong foundations for its future and wound up the proceedings by presenting five of the original founders jewels to the WM the sixth being in the Grand Lodge Museum in London.
The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession. The lodge was then closed in due form and the brethren also retired from the temple.
The festivities continued at a sumptuous festive board where the Deputy Provincial Grand Master in referring to the early years of the Lodge, emphasised how important it was to recognise at a meeting such as a centenary the efforts and work put in by our forebears, referring to in particular the sacrifice made by former Ansdell Lodge member Graham Parrish, who joined the RAFVR during the Second World War and died whilst attempting to save the life of a fellow crew member after their bomber crashed at Khartoum Airfield. He was awarded a posthumous George Cross for gallantry.
In reply to the toast to the lodge David thanked everyone for attending, and he made a special mention of the presence of our well-loved Past Provincial Grand Master, Colin Wright who through recent ill health had been absent from most Masonic occasions, but was on the road to recovery. He thanked the working party consisting of Stuart Thornber (Centenary Chairman), Robert Bentwood (Secretary), John Burgess (Treasurer) and John Porter (DC). David also made reference to the excellent work of the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp and all the new acting Provincial officers. He concluded in the knowledge that Ansdell Lodge was in good heart and looking forward to the future with confidence.
A wonderful day filled with reflections and memories of the workings and traditions of the past, and a belief in a future which held good to keeping those traditions whilst embracing the changes necessary to sustain a happy confident and vibrant lodge.
17 September 2012 - UPDATE: It has just been announced that 'The Queen has been graciously pleased, on the ocassion of Her Majesty's Diamond Jubilee' to award Brian Todhunter with the Royal Victorian Medal (Silver) for 'Restoration of Her Majesty's Yacht Britannia's Royal Barge and Escort Boats'.
Brian Todhunter, a member of Tuscan Oak and Lamberthead Lodge No.6387, will be on board the Royal Yacht Britannia's tender, the Britannia Royal Barge, transporting Her Majesty The Queen to the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell, for the Thames Diamond Jubilee Pageant this weekend.
Brian is a former Royal Navy engineer and a member of the Association of Royal Yachtsmen, having served on the Royal Yacht Britannia between 1975 and 1978. Last November, at the Association's Annual General Meeting, he was asked to inspect the Britannia Royal Barge and an escort launch in order to get them both running. He quickly put together a team of ex-Royal Yachtsmen from the engineering branch, and, based in Leith, Scotland (Britannia's current home), they have worked tirelessly for the past seven months in order to recommission their engines and get the boats shipshape. This has included extensive sea trials on the Firth of Forth in Force 4 winds - although he is not expecting anything quite so rough on the Thames!
The royal barge was used to transport The Queen and other members of the Royal Family to and from Britannia, until she was decommissioned in 1997. Brian, who also served on HMS Hermes, said: “Its remarkable how well she ran after 15 years of idleness. We are all looking forward to carrying out Royal duty again - although probably for the last time”.
The Queen, accompanied by the Duke of Edinburgh, The Prince of Wales, who is Patron of the Pageant, and the Duchess of Cornwall, will board the Britannia Royal Barge, at Chelsea Pier. They will then be transported some eight hundred yards downstream to Cadogan Pier, where they will disembark and board the Royal Barge, the Spirit of Chartwell. The Duke and Duchess of Cambridge and Prince Harry will join them onboard.
The Britannia Royal Barge will then proudly escort the Royal Barge at the head of this spectacular pageant until the Royal party disembarks close to Blackfriars Bridge and boards HMS President, where they will watch the pageant go by.
The Association of Royal Yachtsmen was founded in 1989 by Albert ‘Dixie’ Deane and is dedicated to bringing together many of the estimated 1,767 ‘Yotties’ who served on-board HMY Britannia between 14 January 1954 and 11 December 1997. HM The Queen is Patron of the Association and the Duke of Edinburgh is its President. Its headquarters are on the Royal Yacht Britannia, where many Yotties return annually for their working party week. Throughout this sociable week the Yotties work alongside Britannia’s maintenance crew to undertake a wide range of jobs throughout their old home. They also mix with visitors, who are enthralled by their stories of the 'good old days'.
The installation of a new lift in Liverpool Cathedral has been completed thanks to a donation of £69,000 by the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, which continues a tradition of more than 100 years of Masonic support for the Cathedral.
A Choral Eucharist conducted by the Rev Canon Myles Davies (Acting Dean) celebrated the completion, which will enable more visitors to reach the beautiful Lady Chapel, and so allow the Cathedral to make better use of it for worship and for events.
The Lady Chapel is the oldest part of the cathedral, celebrating its centenary in 2010, and is the place where many visitors choose to pause and reflect. It contains some fine architecture and the magnificent “Noble Women” windows. However, it was built in an era when accessibility was not at the forefront of people’s minds and, up until now, it has only been accessible via stair cases both inside and outside the building. The new lift, which gives access from the main Cathedral floor to the Undercroft, wheelchair access to the Lady Chapel, and secure access to the choir accommodation, marks the last major development in the Cathedral’s policy to provide unrestricted access for all.
Rebecca Bentham, Fundraising Manager of Liverpool Cathedral Foundation, said the project to redesign the lower area of the cathedral will take place in phases as funding is secured. The entire project, including the lift, will cost just under £500,000 and the cathedral is working hard to raise funds for each phase.
New facilities for those using the Lady Chapel will allow it to be used as an alternative option for events, which will increase the revenue potential of the cathedral.
At the dedication service the Rev Canon Myles Davies said: “This accessible lift is a wonderful addition to the cathedral enabling so many more people to access the Lady Chapel. As a result of the generosity of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity we are able to offer a much better experience to all who visit our cathedral.”
John Smith CEO of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity said: “We are pleased to be able to help improve access to the Lady Chapel for disadvantaged people. Freemasons have a long history of supporting the cathedral that goes back as far as 1906 when local Freemasons donated the funds to build the Chapter House”.
At the dedication ceremony the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker, said: “The Province and the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity have had an association with Liverpool Cathedral which began over 100 years ago.
“In 1904, our Grand Master, King Edward VII laid the foundation stone for Liverpool Cathedral.
“In 1906, our Pro Grand Master, The 3rd Earl Amherst, laid the foundation stone for the Chapter House. The Chapter House was funded by the West Lancashire Freemasons in memory of the first Earl of Lathom, our Provincial Grand Master from 1873 to 1898.
“In 1924 the cathedral and the Chapter House were consecrated, and one of my predecessors, the then Provincial Grand Master of West Lancashire, John Hearn Burrell, and his team, conducted the service to dedicate the Chapter House.
"Within my own memory, I recall 2001, when we celebrated 175 years as a separate Province. How appropriate that in our celebrations the Province donated £40,000 to Liverpool Cathedral to provide bursaries.
“The Freemasons of West Lancashire have continued to be involved the cathedral and supported it over the years, and this support has comprised both personal service and involvement as well as financial support. Indeed, it was one of our senior Masons, Brian Jackson, a volunteer worker in the cathedral, who facilitated the initial application by the cathedral for financial support in connection with the provision of a disabled lift to enable access to the Lady Chapel, which was the first part of the cathedral to be completed.
“As they say, the rest is history, the result being a grant from our Grand Charity of £5,000 and total grants from our West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity of £69,000.”
Peter concluded by saying: “We were attracted to the project, for two reasons - first, the project provides much needed help to disadvantaged people who wished to access the cathedral's Undercroft and the Lady Chapel, and secondly, it reinforces our long relationship with the cathedral.
“We are grateful to the cathedral for the opportunity to share in the dedication of this disabled lift and to Rebecca Bentham who has been instrumental in organising the event.”
The significant influence exerted on Freemasonry in Warrington by the Lodge of Rectitude was highlighted by Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker when he headed the centenary celebrations of the Lodge of Great Endeavour No.3597 and urged members to build on its legacy while planning for the future.
For this “very special landmark” Peter opened Provincial Grand Lodge in Warrington Masonic Hall. He had the help and support in the Provincial team of Assistant Provincial Grand Master Ian Boswell (who acted as Deputy Provincial Grand Master), Provincial Grand Secretary Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp, Deputy Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Barrie Crossley, Provincial Grand Wardens Paul Renton and Ian Sanderson and Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Graham Halsall. There were two Provincial Junior Grand Deacons, Jim Cartledge and Eddie Wilkinson, Assistant Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works Dennis Tierney, Provincial Grand Charity Steward Barry Jameson, Provincial Grand Stewards Arthur McArdle and Ian Rowan.
More than 100 brethren attended the special celebration including Past Assistant Provincial Grand Master Dennis Rudd and Grand Officers Jack Forsyth, Frank Starkey, Gordon Amos, Stan Churm and Derek Hunt.
When presenting the Centenary Warrant to Worshipful Master John Tyrer, Peter said it was a “very special moment” and he urged members of the lodge to study the “very special document” when it is on display at future meetings. John said the lodge would take great care of the warrant and that it would be handed on “pure and unsullied” by masters from generation to generation.
Provincial Grand Chaplain Rev Graham Halsall gave an oration and also said a prayer of rededication of the lodge. Peter praised Graham for “his input and particularly for his inspirational oration.”
Peter presented John Tyrer with a Centenary Jewel and then gave all other members of the lodge permission to immediately wear their new jewels.
As Provincial Grand Master, Peter said it was within his power to make certain special appointments. He asked for John Tyrer to be placed before him and promoted him to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Superintendent of Works. John said he was “totally surprised” and did not know how it had been kept such a secret. He said that even with 31 years as a detective he had not heard anything in advance of being promoted in Provincial Grand Lodge on the night of the centenary celebration.
After giving a brief history of the lodge John presented Peter with cheque’s for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and Warrington Masonic Hall. He praised the selection of these two recipients, as he said the charity had suffered during the 2010 Festival and that Masonic halls were now being given the priority they deserve.
In response to the toast to grand officers at the festive banquet Ian Boswell said it had been “a privilege and a delight” to share in the lodge’s very special occasion. He then went on to propose the toast to the health of the Provincial Grand Master.
In proposing the toast to the Lodge of Great Endeavour No 3597 Peter said: “Today's story begins in 1912, when Freemasonry was flourishing in Warrington, with five lodges. However, with the ever increasing number of Masonic candidates not even five lodges were sufficient to provide opportunities to those who sought either membership or advancement in Masonry. Accordingly, to supply that need, Lodge of Rectitude was formed and consecrated on 13 May 1912,
Unfortunately, the then Provincial Grand Master, the Hon Sir Arthur Stanley, was unable to attend to consecrate the lodge in 1912. Whenever I think of Sir Arthur Stanley, I am reminded that one of his lasting legacies to the Province was the creation of the group system, and that group system is still in place today. In his absence, the ubiquitous and evergreen W Bro W Goodacre stepped in. His office was that of the Provincial Grand Secretary of the Province of West Lancashire, and he held that office from 1884 to 1918 a total of 34 years. He was in education, being the headmaster of Talbot House School Old Trafford. There are, in fact, similarities between Bro Goodacre and our current Provincial Grand Secretary - Geoffrey Lee was also in education, being an English teacher and the House Master of Spread Eagle House Rossall School on the Fylde Coast, and although Geoffrey has only served as Provincial Grand Secretary for 16 years, he tells me that it feels more like 34 years!
I am certain that in 1912, Bro Goodacre, as the honored guest, would have been entirely at home with the professional and local businessmen from various walks of life, including members of the Indian Civil Service. who came together on that consecration day.
The lodge has much to proud of, and over many years it has had a significant influence on the development of Freemasonry in Warrington. That influence is evidenced over the years, and this evening I have chosen three examples.
In 1944, the substantial expansion of Rectitude led members to promote the formation of a daughter lodge, which was consecrated on 10 May 1944 and that lodge was named Great Sankey Lodge No.5939.
In 1947, as Rectitude continued to prosper and enlarge its membership, the members sought permission to sponsor a new lodge, the result was the formation of Warrington Temple Lodge No.6420 - a lodge that continues in existence today.
And in 1968 Rectitude had expanded its membership to become once again one of the largest lodges in the Warrington Group, prompting members to seek permission to sponsor a further daughter lodge. The Warrant is dated 13 November 1968 and the lodge was named the Lodge of Good Fellowship No.8258.
I appreciate and understand that when numbers increase, additional lodges are consecrated, and when numbers decrease, changes need to be made. Lodge of Rectitude properly recognized the need for change, and what better way forward than for mother to invite two daughters to return to the family and amalgamate together. Thus the amalgamation of Lodge of Rectitude No.3597, Great Sankey Lodge No.5939 and Lodge of Good Endeavour No.8258 took place on 13 June 2007, with the No 3597 being retained and the name being changed to Lodge of Great Endeavour.”
Peter concluded: “Give thanks for your history and all those who have made Lodge of Great Endeavour what it is today; build on the legacy that you have inherited; in building on that legacy of the past 100 years, enjoy the present; but at the same time plan for the future.”
Replying to the toast on behalf of the lodge, John said that when the amalgamation took place it was “the coming together of the family”. He said the lodge is looking forward to the future and aims to “grow and grow”.
The Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker and the Deputy President of the RMBI Chris Cain were welcomed to Tithebarn by Laurie Scott (Chairman of the Friends of Tithebarn) and the Home Manager Linda Johnson.
Ray Martland, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Roy Pyne, Provincial Grand Almoner (West Lancashire), David Littlewood, Provincial Grand Almoner (Cheshire), along with many of the Friends of Tithebarn and their wives and partners were also in attendance, along with the chairmen of several groups from the Province: Frank Umbers (Ormskirk), Peter Levick (Bootle), Brian Henshaw (Southport), David Hawkes (Liverpool) and Harry Cox (North Fylde).
In his opening speech Peter said: “I am delighted to have been invited to open what I thought was to be called the ‘Garden Room’ but is now to be called the ‘Jubilee Room 2012’, which is this ‘Jubilee’ year.
"I still remember with pleasure my visit to Tithebarn in March 2009, when I was delighted to officially hand over to the RMBI Chief Executive David Innes the new ceiling lifting system in the Maude Sullivan Wing. After the handover, my wife Julie and I were pleased to take an escorted tour around Tithebarn, and we were most impressed with everything we saw."
He continued: “Linda, I congratulate you and your team on the continuing excellence of your work and I hear nothing but praise about the quality of care you unfailingly provide. This is a wonderful example of what we Freemasons believe in, kindness and caring for those in need.
"The Friends of Tithebarn are special people, and not only the Friends, because I am told that increasingly the wives have become involved. Laurie Scott's appointment to Grand Rank last week by the Duke of Kent was most appropriate, recognizing the work of Laurie and the Friends over so many years.
"I understand that during the past four years, the Friends have done so much to improve the lives and wellbeing of the residents. I make no excuse for making mention of their good works, because it is important that we celebrate what has been done and achieved: Refitting the main Ambulance and providing a smaller ambulance, supplying the Home with new curtains and throw-overs for 41 bedrooms, purchasing three new large televisions for the main lounge, the Maud Sullivan lounge, and the library, supplying a new bookcase for the library, and two new computers, two printers, laptop and corner desk for the quiet lounge, providing new garden furniture, including five benches and three gazebos, supplying a computer controlled VDU in the entrance hall to display the daily programme to residents and visitors, helping the Home Events Organiser with residents' outings, and also supplying and distributing Christmas presents, and lastly, and I think there is a list of volunteers waiting to help - cleaning the pond!
"And now, there is more, much more - a new garden room extension to the main lounge, which is of course why we are here today. I understand that the extension has been on the cards for a very long time, and I think that the work has been ongoing for the past 18 months. The Friends are contributing the magnificent sum of £50,000 in respect of the project and this will go a long way to meeting the overall cost. And the RMBI are paying the balance. Also, the Friends are providing the furnishings and fittings for the room. All this means more benefits for the residents providing more useable space and creating options, it means more space generally, more space for the holding of activities, and more space for the holding of specialised activities.
"I know that the home is very much indebted to the Friends and they are to be congratulated and thanked for everything that they do, particularly with regard to this new garden room extension. They in turn receive wonderful support from the West Lancashire Freemasons’ who continue to give so freely and so generously. All of this makes me very proud to be a Freemason. And it is good to see the chairmen of the groups involved here today.”
Chris Cain then gave a short address on behalf of the RMBI, in which he said: “As I visit the homes around the country, I am impressed by the hard work and support the ‘Friends’ give their homes, I really do thank the Friends of Tithebarn for their magnificent support of the home and for their part in the creation of this new facility for the residents”.
Peter then declared the new Jubilee Room 2012 open. He then joined the residents of the home in the new room where he cut the celebration cake.
The Friends of Tithebarn then presented flowers to the principal guests.
The RMBI carried out a major program of work on Tithebarn, which started in August 2010 and was completed in December 2011. The work included the installation of two new fire escapes to comply with fire and safety regulations, seven bedrooms were extended to include en-suite facilities, a new nurse call system was fitted, a new fire alarm system was installed, plumbing was replaced and the wing was rewired, a new bathroom with lifting facilities was created, a new staff room with changing facilities was installed and a refurbishment of the kitchens was carried out and a new general storage area was built along with a new office for the home maintenance manager.
To find out more about Tithebarn or the RMBI visit www.rmbi.org.uk
Brethren came from all across the Province of West Lancashire, eager to share in the celebrations marking the 50 year landmark for Assistant Provincial Grand Master Terry Hudson.
The Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, accompanied by the Provincial team and a procession of Terry’s APrGM colleagues, present and past, along with many other Grand and Provincial Grand Officers made this a night to remember for Terry and for all the members of Quadrant Lodge No 8044.
Worshipful Master Mike Wenham offered Peter the gavel of Quadrant Lodge, who accepted it on this particular and special occasion.
In his opening address Peter said: “One of my great pleasures and privileges in Freemasonry is to take the chair and lead the celebrations for brethren who are celebrating 50 years, 60 and 70 years and, dare I say it, 80 years of service in and to Freemasonry. I feel that against these landmarks, my own service pales into insignificance at a mere 44 years!
As Provincial Grand Master, I had anticipated that my involvement in such celebrations would, sadly, become very few and far between. I say 'sadly' because such celebrations are always interesting and they have invariably enabled me to learn so much more about each celebrant than might otherwise be the case and, in so doing, appreciate more completely the rich and fulfilling lives that they have led.
As it has happened, during my first four years as PrGM, I have in fact continued to lead the celebrations for many distinguished Freemasons and I have greatly enjoyed all of them. Tonight, I have the pleasure and privilege of leading the celebrations for my - and our - good friend Terence 'Terry' Hudson Past Senior Grand Deacon, APrGM, a man who, like good wine, can be said to be elegant, well balanced and full of character.”
Peter then asked Keith Kemp (Provincial Grand Diector of Ceremonies to place Terry before him so that he could address him.
Peter said that Terry was born on 14 August 1937 in Hednesford, Staffordshire, the only child of Alfred and Julie Hudson. From the 12th century, Hednesford was always a small agricultural village whose only claim to fame was the training of race horses. However, in the late 19th century it suddenly mushroomed with the opening of coal mines and, as a young man, Terry’s father Alfred worked for some time as a coal miner as did everyone else in the community. After World War ǁ, during which he served as a leading instructor in morse code, he was demobilised and the family re-located to the bright lights of Blackpool.
Peter said that he felt that it is often true for us, that as we think back to our own father and mother and our upbringing, we recall that often it was one of them in particular who had the more significant and beneficial influence upon our lives. He commented that it was Terry’s mother Julie who had that significant and beneficial influence and said that from his own personal experience that the 'Julies' of the world are invariably wonderful people.
In 1945, in Blackpool, Terry attended Claremont Junior School, where he stayed until passing his 11 plus, to gain entry to Blackpool Grammar School. He proved to be certainly well balanced at school where he enjoyed and succeeded at rugby, cricket, music and amateur dramatics. In those formative years Blackpool Grammar School gave Terry a holistic education and grounding for life.
Peter added that Terry developed a love of music, which he himself has described as the greatest gift given to him by his father in those early years and has been ever present throughout his life. The playing of the piano and singing were encouraged and developed. In fact, as a boy soprano, Terry entered singing competitions with some conspicuous success.
On settling in Blackpool, Terry’s father established a wholesale business in house-ware and, after school he joined that business for two years before joining National Cash Register for some three years. He then returned to the family business, being appointed to the elevated position of sales director. After consideration, Peter said he rejected the unworthy thought that there was an element of nepotism in this appointment!
Sadly, a fire destroyed the business and Terry’s father retired. However, thanks to Terry’s determined efforts, and in conjunction with his sales personnel, he secured a merger of the business, such as it was, with another company. The business traded with many retail outlets throughout the North West, including Eddie Stobart in Wigton and Sherrington’s in Leigh. Peter mentioned Sherrington’s because another Alfred, who was Peter’s own father-in-law, was the owner of Sherrington’s in Leigh. The affectionate and apocryphal story about his father-in-law was that he regularly sold stair carpet to customers who lived in bungalows!
During the 1960’s Terry’s entrepreneurial talents led him to plan for the future. As a result of his foresight, he put together a property portfolio of 'buy to let' properties, which he eventually sold 25 years later to a development company. Peter added that he thought that even Lord Sugar would have been most impressed with this successful business venture.
Peter continued that one of the truly important parts of Terry’s life was his interest in wine, particularly the wines of Burgundy, Bordeaux, and Italy. This led to Terry investing in wine and the PrGM suggested there might have been the ‘occasional spare case’ for Terry to drink himself. This brought Terry into contact with the major houses in the wine industry and, in turn, proved very useful in helping to provide the Province with fine wines for Provincial meetings.
Terry has two sons by his first marriage, Nicholas and Mark. Although that marriage failed, some 17 years ago Terry happily met Sonja and it is she who has brought great joy and happiness into Terry’s life. They have done so much together and in particular have travelled widely, during which, art and music has figured prominently.
Peter then moved on to Freemasonry to which he said Terry has generously devoted so much of his life and energies.
It was on 16 May 1962 that Terry was initiated into Rectitude Lodge of Blackpool No. 4122. At this point, the Peter asked the Secretary of Rectitude Lodge of Blackpool, Gordon Ivett, to read out the minutes of that very important lodge meeting of 16 May 1962.
In 1966 Terry joined Quadrant Lodge No. 8044, becoming its Master in 1974 and in 1975. He is a joining member of Quingenti Lodge No. 8516, Setantia Lodge of Installed Masters No. 7755 and Senatores Lodge of Installed Masters No. 8966. Terry also joined Lathom Lodge No. 2229, becoming its Master in 2009 and he was also a Founder of Aemulantes Lodge No. 8827.
Terry’s first rank in Provincial Grand Lodge in 1977 was that of acting Provincial Grand Steward and, in 1981, he was promoted to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden (PPrJGW). Colin Wright appointed Terry in 2007 as one of his Assistant Provincial Grand Master’s (APrGM) and in 2008 he was re-appointed by Peter.
He was appointed in Grand Lodge in 1987 to the rank of Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) and promoted to Past Junior Grand Deacon (PJGD) in 1995; having become an APrGM, he was then promoted to Past Senior Grand Deacon (PSGD) in 2008.
In the Royal Arch Terry was exalted into St Anne's Chapter No. 2457, being installed as its first principal in 1978. In 1985, he became a founder of Senatores Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 8966 and, in 1996 he was installed as its first principal. He was a founder of Quadrant Chapter No. 8044 in 1987. Terry is a joining member of Semper Fidelis Chapter No. 4428, Setantia Chapter of Installed First Principals No. 7755 and Provincial Grand Stewards' Chapter No. 8516. He became first principal of Provincial Grand Stewards' Chapter in 1993.
As in the Craft, Terry’s first Provincial rank in 1983 was that of acting PrGStwd, and he was promoted to PPrGSN in 1987. In 1993 he was appointed by Peter’s predecessor Colin Wright as an Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals and then in 2004, he became Second Provincial Grand Principal. Terry was appointed in Supreme Grand Chapter in 1991 to the rank of PGStdB and then promoted in 1999 to PAGSoj.
Peter spoke of Terry’s first senior appointment in 1993, namely Assistant to the Provincial Grand Principals, with an elevation in 2004 to Second Provincial Grand Principal for three years. In 2007, he became an APrGM and Terry remains in that office to the present time. This means that Terry has held senior offices in the Province continuously for 19 years. Accordingly, his service to this Province has been continuous and outstanding.
On a personal note, Peter commented that since he had become Provincial Grand Master, Terry has given him unfailing loyalty and support and he had been a good friend. Additionally, Terry has been a most welcome visitor wherever he has attended in the Province.
Peter then asked South Fylde Group Chairman David Randerson to read out the Certificate marking Terry’s long service to the Province.
After the meeting 140 brethren retired to the dining room where they enjoyed a wonderful meal. During the festive board, Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Secretary, gave a very moving and humorous address to Terry which illustrated the considerable friendship they have both enjoyed over many years.
As the lark was still slumbering and dreaming of catching flies during the forthcoming daylight, 27 companions of the Provincial Stewards’ Chapter No 8516 of West Lancashire, Demonstration Team were already on the road and heading for Shrewsbury, in Shropshire.
They had been invited to the Masonic Hall in Crewe Street to perform ‘The Re-building of a Chapter’, by the Shropshire First Principals’ Chapter No 6262 after correspondence between their secretary Eric Booth and the head of the demonstration team Bill Smith.
After a long journey the team was thankful for a hearty breakfast which was served soon after arriving at the hall at 7.30 am, but a fully organized chef and his team were more than able to match even the most voracious of appetites.
The name of the host chapter is self-explanatory and was consecrated in 1987 and since permission was granted by Supreme Grand Chapter, has like many, chosen to dispense with the wearing of gloves. It meets in what is now the Shrewsbury Masonic Hall, which was the former parish church of St Michael and it was pleasing to see the war memorial within the grounds fully renovated and adorned with flowers.
The church was consecrated on 24 August 1830, being designed by John Carlisle in the Grecian style and includes an octagonal tower. The church was built in brick and the chancel was added later in 1873, the church served the local community until it was closed in 1976.
It was within this fine building that the demonstration team spent their early morning in setting out the room and having the necessary practice to assimilate with the unfamiliar surroundings. When all were satisfied that everything was ready there was just enough time to change into regalia before the Shropshire companions arrived and the chapter opened. Present on the day were the Grand Superintendent of Shropshire Peter Taylor, accompanied by Roger Pemberton, (Second Provincial Grand Principal) and John Williamson (Deputy Grand Superintendent).
The past first principals of the chapter were introduced and escorted to their places, this was followed by the First Principals of Shropshire Royal Arch Chapters being individually announced and escorted to their respective place by a Provincial Steward from West Lancashire. The chapter was then placed in a state of darkness and a synopsis of the historical events and of the proclamation of Cyrus King of Persia leading up to the ‘re-building’ was delivered by David Harrison.
The chapter resumed its illumination as Barry Elman described the purpose and cause of the individual pieces of furniture which were brought in by the members of Provincial Stewards’ Chapter. When this was complete the chapter was opened by its three Principals and after two matters of chapter business had been dealt with the demonstration was resumed. The chapter was also at this time re-dedicated by Reverend Graham Halsall.
There then followed a reminder to the companions of what the six lights within the chapter represent. This was delivered by Bill Smith and his conclusion of the form of a triangle which represented the Supreme Being and/or an aide memoire, as the triangle could be reconstructed by using one piece of material or matter that was totally portable. Furthermore as it was a geometrical figure, was geometry itself the powerful superior knowledge that set aside the intelligent being, man? Robin Andrews Morris then presented the acting candidate to the first principal and proceeded to inform him on what the floor furniture represented.
Bill then introduced David Harrison, who had with him an extremely special gavel which may be described as a true Masonic gavel for a number of reasons, which David explained most eloquently. It is made of three differing woods; elm, ash, and oak.
On conclusion of the talk, David and Bill presented the gavel to the chapter on behalf of the Provincial Stewards’ Chapter, suitably inscribed onto an adorning plaque. First Principal, David Joyce assured them both that it would be treasured by all of the members of the Shropshire First Principals’ Chapter and become a respected artifact within the chapter.
On conclusion of the meeting, all descended to the ground floor for a very agreeable festive board at which twocheques were made out from the alms collection at the ceremony, for an equal three figure amount, one for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity, the other was returned to David Joyce to be used for the benefit of the Midland Air Ambulance Service.
In the next available post, Bill Smith received a letter of thanks and appreciation from David Joyce, part of which said: “It has been a lovely experience and it is clear that the companions of our chapter and our Province were deeply impressed with the choreography, the detail and the ethos of your presentation. Would you please pass on to your team our enormous appreciation of the efforts they made, each and everyone? Thank you, again.”
It had obviously been a successful day for all concerned and it must be remembered that the demonstration team carry out their work voluntary and in their spare time, but such dedication brings its own reward at the satisfaction gained spreading knowledge to those that attend a chapter to see the team at work.
The Members of Widnes and Knowsley Lodge No.3581 celebrated their centenary with a very special meeting attended by the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker.
Peter Hosker was accompanied by his Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Howard Jones, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Ian Boswell, Widnes Group Chairmen David Redhead and the Provincial team and a host of other Grand and acting Provincial Grand Officers. With a total of 96 brethren attending to celebrate the event, eight of whom were visiting masters; extra seating had to be put out in the lodge room to accommodate all present.
The Worshipful Master of Widnes and Knowsley Lodge, Robert Winch, (for the fifth time), opened the meeting and conducted the initial business of the lodge. With this business complete, Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp announced the arrival of Peter Hosker. Peter was escorted into the lodge room by the Provincial team in full splendour with the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Brian Blanchfield, holding the sword upright and the Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, Andrew Thompson and Alan Lock (deputising), with their standards making the procession even more majestic and colourful.
Keith introduced Peter to Robert who gave him a very warm welcome and invited him to take the gavel and occupy the chair, which Peter did. Peter then appointed his Provincial officers to their respective positions and proceeded to open Provincial Grand Lodge.
In his opening address to the lodge, Peter said: “what a magnificent occasion this is and a wonderful achievement for the lodge”. It is an occasion made even more special as when Widnes Lodge No.2819 and Knowsley Lodge No.3581 amalgamated in 2006 the members of Widnes Lodge proposed the use of Knowsley Lodge number for the new lodge to allow Knowsley Lodge to reach its centenary as Widnes Lodge had already reached its centenary in 2000.
Peter then requested Arend Van Duyvenbode, (acting Provincial Grand Secretary), to read out the details on the centenary warrant, which he did very articulately. The warrant was then delivered into the hands of Peter who took great pleasure in presenting it to Robert Winch. This was followed by a presentation of the centenary jewel to Robert, after which the members of the lodge were given permission to display their centenary jewel.
After the presentation, Peter requested Rev Graham Halsall (Provincial Grand Chaplain) to deliver an oration. In his oration, Graham gave the assembled brethren an interesting account of the history of Knowsley Lodge. The lodge was consecrated on 25 March 1912 in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master, The Honourable Arthur Stanley MP, third son of The 16th Earl of Derby, at Hope Street in Liverpool.
The following years were very busy with many initiations taking place with subsequent second and third degree ceremonies. The initiation of the youngest member took place in 1918 after special dispensation was granted to permit the son of a subscribing brother from another lodge be admitted as a minor or Lewis, he was just 19 years old. Membership of the lodge peaked in 1960 at 155, today membership stands at 26.
Throughout the periods of the First and Second World Wars, the members of Knowsley Lodge were undaunted and continued with their meetings. During the First World War servicemen were permitted to attend in uniform and during the Second World War, when as prisoners of war, they continued in the privacy of their quarters to practice ritual.
Following an approach by Widnes Lodge, the amalgamation of Knowsley Lodge with Widnes Lodge in 2006 came about after many meetings and a harmonious agreement was reached and the lodge got off to a busy start. In the first three months they had three important events; the celebration of 50 years Masonic service by Hartley Sanders, the amalgamation ceremony and a celebratory dinner to mark the retirement of Alan Griffiths as Widnes Group Chairman.
David Cook was the first to be initiated into Widnes and Knowsley Lodge, he was made an Entered Apprentice by Derek Williams in 2008 and if all goes to plan, Derek will install him into the chair of King Solomon in 2013.
The oration by Graham was followed by a dedication prayer after which Peter closed Provincial Grand Lodge and invited Robert to resume his chair, the lodge officers then resumed their positions.
Robert thanked Peter for a magnificent ceremony and then presented him with two cheques; one for £3,581 made out to West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and one for £800 made out to Widnes Masonic Hall Limited. Peter said that on behalf of the recipients he was sure that the cheques would be gratefully received and faithfully applied.
The Alms collection for charity raised £306 of which £217 was gift aided.
With the centenary celebration complete, Peter retired from the lodge accompanied by Grand officers and escorted by the Provincial team. The final lodge business was transacted by Robert, before he closed the lodge and all retired to a splendid meal at the festive board.
Howard Jones replied to the toast to the Grand Officers saying: “Thanks for having me back after being here for the installation meeting; it is a great pleasure to be here and be part of this wonderful celebration.” He then proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master in which he said that Peter does a lot of work in the background, this is not the first centenary celebration this year and there are a few more to come.
In his reply Peter said: “It was a pleasure to lead such a celebration, a centenary is a very special landmark and I enjoyed going back into the chair.” He thanked Ian Boswell for his involvement in making the website very successful and the Provincial team for the excellent work they carried out in the lodge room. He then conveyed his warmest congratulations to the lodge members and said it was a privilege to come along and share the celebration.
Proposing the toast to Knowsley Lodge, Ian remarked how the lodge had benefitted from the amalgamation by sharing the number of the former Knowsley Lodge. He said that the lodge is now lively and vibrant and may it prosper for very many more years to come.
Robert Winch responded to this toast saying: “It is a privilege to respond to this toast, the lodge has a really good relationship since the amalgamation and we now have two light blues coming up through the ranks.” He thanked Derek Williams and Peter Carter for their tireless work over a number of years in the planning of the centenary celebration.
Four bottles of whisky were up for grabs in the raffle; first prize went to Howard Jones, second to Paul Smith, third to Alan McElhinney and forth to Hartley Sanders. The sum of £455 was raised from the raffle and this was presented by Robert Winch to Allen Yates and Paul Burrows who are doing a coast to coast walk for charity.
The centenary meeting of Tower of Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.3583 was held in the magnificent Corinthian Suite at Liverpool in the presence of the Provincial Grand Master Peter Hosker, who opened a meeting of Provincial Grand Lodge for the purposes of the ceremony.
The lodge was formed in January 2004 following the amalgamation of Tower Lodge No.3583, which had been consecrated on 26 April 1912, with Sir Francis Drake Lodge No.8109, and there were 71 members and guests present to celebrate this special centenary meeting.
The Master of the lodge, Eric Wilson, had the pleasure of welcoming the Provincial Grand Master, who entered the lodge room accompanied by his full entourage of officers in a magnificent and colourful procession.
Eric ceded the gavel to Peter who took the Chair and nominated his Provincial officers for this special opening of Provincial Grand Lodge. These included Howard Jones, Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Stanley Oldfield, Assistant Provincial Grand Master, Paul Renton, Senior Warden, Ian Sanderson, Junior Warden, Rev Graham Halsall, Chaplain, Geoffrey Lee, Provincial Grand Secretary, Keith Kemp, DC, Neil McSymond, Deputy DC, Paul Rattigan, Sword Bearer, Eric Hart and James Cartledge, Deacons, John Stanfield and John Breakwell, Standard Bearers, Frank Kennedy, Pursuivant, and Alan Locke, Tyler. They were preceded by Stewards Geoff Cuthill and Robb Fitzsimmons and accompanied by other Grand officers.
The Liverpool Group was represented by chairman David Hawkes, deputy chairman Sam Robinson, vice chairman Roy Ashley and secretary Roy Cowley.
Peter said: “I am delighted to be here with my Provincial team. Lodge 3583 has prospered and it's members can be justly proud of what has been achieved.” He then called upon the Provincial Grand Secretary to read the Centenary Warrant issued by the Grand Master. This warrant also gives lodge members permission to wear a special Centenary jewel. Peter then presented the Warrant to Eric who promised that it would be preserved, unsullied as he now received it.
Peter then called upon the Rev Graham Halsall to deliver an oration to the lodge. What followed was truly an oration of such quality, eloquence and erudition which held the assembled brethren spellbound. Graham commenced with a condensed history and origins of the lodge gleaned from the few lodge records which had survived the wartime blitz and other ravages of time. He went on to compare the physical properties of a tower being the image of strength, durability, security and fortitude; these being qualities to which Freemasons should aspire and to demonstrate. At the conclusion, Graham was congratulated by Peter for his well-researched and well-rehearsed oration. The assembled brethren concurred with extended applause.
The ceremony then took an unexpected turn when the Provincial Grand Master announced that he had decided to take advantage of this special Provincial Grand Lodge to confer a promotion on 85 years old member of the lodge, Bill Gallagher, to the high rank of Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. This surprise promotion is well deserved as Bill has been WM of the lodge on four occasions in 1996, 1999, 2009 and 2010. Previously a member of the now defunct Skelmersdale Lodge No 1380, Bill was WM on no less than seven occasions and was also that lodge’s almoner. He was appointed to the rank of PPrSGD in 2003. A strong Royal Arch Mason, Bill has also been the first principal of Skelmersdale Waterloo Chapter No.1380 five times and has been appointed to the rank of PPrGSoj. Peter directed Geoffrey Lee to read the patent before investing him with the collar and jewel of his office. Peter said: “I congratulate you on 25 years of outstanding Masonic service made more remarkable by virtue of your advanced years.” A surprised Bill replied that he was grateful to accept the honour on behalf of the lodge and thanked Peter accordingly.
Next followed a prayer of rededication, led by Rev Graham Halsall and the closure of Provincial Grand Lodge. Peter returned the gavel to Eric who resumed the WM’s chair. It was remarked that Eric had conducted the proceedings in a most efficient and dignified manner despite medical problems.
Eric then rose and thanked the Provincial Grand Master for the wonderful and enjoyable ceremony. He then presented Peter with two cheques both for substantial donations to the West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity and to the Liverpool Masonic Hall Fund. Peter thanked the lodge members for their generous contributions to these most worthwhile causes.
The Provincial party then retired in an equally magnificent and colourful procession to a sumptuous festive board.
Nobody present could fail to be impressed by the dignified and stately manner in which this important and historic landmark had been celebrated by the Provincial Grand Master and his officers and by the officers and brethren of Tower of Sir Francis Lodge No 3583.
The brethren of King’s Lodge No. 3101 and Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No. 1473 along with many visiting Grand and Provincial Grand officers and distinguished brethren packed the temple in Litherland Masonic Hall to capacity to witness a very special and rare investiture - of Deputy Provincial Grand Master Howard Jones and Assistant Provincial Grand Master Roy Skidmore.
After the lodge was opened in the third degree the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies Keith Kemp entered the lodge and informed the Worshipful Master Gary Thornhill that the Provincial Grand Master stood outside and demanded admission. Gary informed Keith that he would be delighted to receive him.
Keith then announced the Provincial Grand Master who was proceeded by acting Provincial deacons George Skarratt and Jim Hardman (both of whom as long serving assistants for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity) and accompanied by his Deputy, five of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Paul Renton (PrSGW), Ian Sanderson (PrJGW), along with other Provincial Grand officers of the Provincial team.
After welcoming Peter, Gary offered him the gavel which Peter accepted. He then asked his Provincial team to take their places and opened Provincial Grand Lodge. Peter then opened in the first degree in order to admit the newest member of King’s Lodge, Christopher Liston who is due to be passed to the second degree.
Peter said that he was very pleased to invest Howard Jones as his Deputy Provincial Grand Master who he had appointed on 20 January following the decision by Michael Hedley Hill to retire due to poor health.
Peter then asked Keith to form a deputation and place Howard in front of him. Peter then said Howard was initiated into Freemasonry in October 1972 into King's Lodge No. 3101 and he was WM in 1983 and 1995. He was also WM of Lodge Of Peace and Unity No. 314 in 2008. He is also a member of Lathom Lodge No. 2229.
He received his first appointment in Provincial Grand Lodge in 1991 as Provincial Grand Superintendant of Works (ProvGSuptWks), and in 1996 he was promoted to Provincial Junior Grand Warden (ProvJGW). In 2000 he was appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) and in 2008 he was invested as Assistant Provincial Grand Master with responsibility for the Bootle, Garston and Gladstone Groups. In 2009 he was promoted to the rank of Past Senior Grand Deacon.
He was exalted into King's Chapter No. 3101 on the 12 October 1981, became first principal of Chapter of Perseverance No. 155 in 1999 and of Vale Chapter No. 5256 in 2004. He is currently a member of Holy Royal Architect Chapter No. 314. He was appointed Past Provincial Grand Scribe N (PProvGSN) in 2006 and was appointed to Grand Chapter as Past Grand Standard Bearer (PGStB) in 2011.
Howard became honorary secretary of the West Lancashire Masonic Charities Fund in 1997 and was a member of the working party along with Peter Hosker that managed the amalgamation of the seven charities in the Province. He has been a trustee of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity since it was formed in 2008 and is now the chairman of the board of trustees.
Peter said that Howard was well qualified to take the position of Deputy Provincial Grand Master and he asked Howard to take his obligation. Peter then invested Howard with his chain of office and presented him with his patent of appointment.
Peter then asked Keith to form a deputation and place Roy Skidmore in front of him. Peter said he was pleased to invest Roy as one of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters following his appointment on 20 January.
Roy was initiated into Freemasonry in May 1992 into Bootle Lodge No. 1473 and he was WM in 2000 he was also Master of Pilgrim Lodge No. 6207 in 2009 when, during his year in office both lodges merged forming Bootle Pilgrim Lodge No. 1473.
He was appointed as Provincial Junior Grand Warden in 2004. He was appointed to Past Assistant Grand Director of Ceremonies (PAGDC) in April 2008. He was exalted into Bootle Chapter No. 1473 on the 15 March 1996 and was first principal in 2006.
Roy’s career in banking and friendly societies well qualified him to join the team at the West Lancashire Masonic Charities Fund in 2004 as assistant secretary later becoming joint secretary alongside Howard Jones. In 2008 Roy became the Chief Executive of the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity when the seven Provincial charities serving Craft and Royal Arch merged.
Peter said Roy was therefore well qualified to take the position of Assistant Provincial Grand Master with responsibility for the Bootle, Garston and Gladstone Groups and he asked Roy to take his obligation. Peter then invested Roy with his chain of office and presented him with his patent of appointment.
Peter then closed Provincial Grand Lodge. A collection for the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity was taken and after the first rising Peter along with his Provincial Team paraded out of the temple. Gary then closed the lodge in due form.
Over 100 of the brethren then retired to the festive board for a very enjoyable meal.
The Senior Warden of the lodge, Richard Edmondson proposed the toast to Grand Officers, coupling it with the name of Howard Jones. In his response Howard said he was a great, though unexpected honour to be Deputy Provincial Grand Master of this great Province.
He remarked that brethren may not know that each of the chains of office were slightly different. His own was donated to the Province by John Hearn Burrell who was Deputy Provincial Grand Master (1920–22) and Provincial Grand Master (1922–29). As ProvGM he laid the final stone in the Chapter House of Liverpool Cathedral on 24 July 1924. Howard said he thought it was good to look at the support Freemasons gave to the Cathedral, as they not only assisted in the building they paid for the Chapter House to be built.
Howard continued that there were several links to the present, the first being that John Hearn Burrell lived in Fulwood Park, which is where Michael Hedley Hill lives today. Howard said he was humbled by a call from Michael earlier in the day, wishing him all the best for the future – a true mark of the man Michael is.
Another link to the present day is the work done by the West Lancashire Freemasons’ Charity and Roy Skidmore in particular as today there is a requirement to install a lift in the cathedral that will give disabled access to the Lady Chapel. Howard said he was delighted that the WLFC had agreed to fund the installation of the lift at some considerable cost and he hope a large number of Freemasons would be able to attend the opening of the lift later in the year.
Howard concluded by saying that the collection in the lodge for the WLFC and the raffle at the festive board in support of the Masonic hall which raised over £400. Both the WLFC and Masonic hall are vital to our organisation and we must ensure we continue to support them.
He then thanked Ray Barrow (group secretary) for helping Ray Eccles (lodge secretary) by organising the meeting and Mark Dimelow for acting as Director of Ceremonies for the festive board and all the brethren for taking the time to attend the meeting.
The companions of Temple Chapter No.1094 has good reason to believe it has just completed an historic milestone in exalting Thomas Bell Cain as a Companion. They think that this exaltation was unique on two counts, the age of the exaltee being 89 and his long service of 53 years as a Mason since being initiated in 1958. He certainly met the requirement of having been a Master Mason of four weeks and above!
The ceremony of exaltation was carried out to a very high standard by the companions, led by first principal Dave Southward, ably assisted by Mark Youdan, and Rob Fitzsimmons, as second and third principals, Rob having stood in at moments notice. Thankfully, Tom is still in robust health and retains all his faculties, so completed his ceremony without any allowance having to be made.
Tom was born at the small fishing port of Hoylake, on the Wirral peninsular on 11 February 1922, moving across the River Mersey to Liverpool four years later, not by himself it should be said, the family moved also. He attended school at Fonthill Road, before moving to St Margaret’s Anfield and whilst a pupil there was selected to play soccer for Liverpool Schoolboys. He was later selected to play for the Liverpool County Football Association and would go on to star for the nearby Formby Football Club for 11 years. Tom also honed his skills on the fairway and has been a member of the Deanwood Golf Club for over 40 years with the achievement of having his name appearing on the ‘Role of Honour’ in the clubhouse, for winning the annual competition. Tom now reflects on his sporting prowess with much personal satisfaction now his active playing days are over.
Tom, who like many of the period, left school aged 15½ in 1937 and immediately started work as an office junior for the Mersey Bedding Company. This fledgling career was however short lived, as at the outbreak of war in 1939, he joined the Royal Air Force. Being trained as a Fitter/Armourer he was quickly posted to 206 Squadron Coastal Command, working on various aircraft including the North American built Lockheed Hudson and the B17 Flying Fortress. He continued his service with 235 Fighter Squadron, serving in Iceland, France and the UK until the end of hostilities, eventually being demobilised in December 1945 and returning to his previous employer.
It was during the war that Tom started to seriously ‘court’ his wife Edna in 1942, who he had met several years previous, her being a cousin to one of Tom’s best pals. His courting eventually paid off for he married Edna in November 1945 and they were blessed with one son, Ian.
On 24 April 1958 Tom was initiated into Wavertree Lodge No.2294 and became a joining member of Mayflower Lodge No.7812 on 2 October 1962. Tom had expressed a desire to become a founder of Mayflower Lodge, but at the time was told that because he had completed less than 4 years as a Master Mason, this was not possible. This was a great disappointment, but undeterred, he attended the consecration ceremony and became a joining member of the newly consecrated Mayflower Lodge on the night, going on to become the Worshipful Master in 1969. Sadly, Mayflower Lodge closed in April 2007 and together with the majority of the brethren, Tom became a joining member of West Derby Castle Lodge No.5821, of which he is still a member.
His dedication to Freemasonry was recognized by the Province of West Lancashire in 1981 when he was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Assistant Director of Ceremonies, with further promotions in later years to Past Provincial Grand Superintendant of Works, and then Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden. Still a very active member within his lodge, Tom has finally decided to ignore the advice given to him at the beginning of his Masonic career, which was to concentrate on his Craft lodge and don’t worry about chapter, and to complete his Masonic journey by joining Royal Arch Masonry in Temple Chapter No 1094.
On completion of the meeting all those present retired to the adjacent banqueting room where the usual hospitality of Temple Chapter was shown in abundance, and thoroughly appreciated by all present.
John Broster’s early life was to have a profound effect on his life: at the age of three he caught diphtheria and has been deaf ever since.
John managed to adjust to his disability and attended Hutton Grammar School and Liverpool University. He then trained as a chartered accountant and after qualifying worked for a firm of accountants in Preston. In 1968 he married Mary, who was a teacher, and they have lived in the same house in Preston ever since. Soon after they married, John started his own accountancy business.
John was initiated into Freemasonry in 1970 in the Lodge of Unanimity No.113 in the Province of West Lancashire. He served as Worshipful Master in 1982 and Treasurer from 1987 to 1992, and received his first Provincial appointment of Past Provincial Senior Grand Deacon in 1992. In 2001 he was promoted to Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works and in November he will receive a further promotion to Past Provincial Junior Grand Warden.
He is also a member of Uter Pendragon Lodge No.3481 in the Province of Cumberland and Westmoreland, which is close to their holiday home.
In the Royal Arch, he was exalted into Unanimity Chapter No.113 in 1983, becaming First Principal in 1992, and appointed Treasurer in 1994 - a post he still holds today. In 1996 he was appointed to Past Provincial Assistant Grand Sojourner, and was promoted to Past Provincial Grand Scribe N in 2003.
In 1996 whilst on holiday in Devon, Mary noticed a market stall which was selling goods for the charity, Hearing Dogs for Deaf People, and exchanged addresses with Mrs Guymer who was running the stall.
A few months later their pet dog Robbie sadly died. Having taken some details about the charity John applied for a dog. Following an interview he was accepted and in January 1997 John spent a week with ‘Coppers’ at the charity's northern training centre.
Whilst John was training, Mary researched the charity and was surprised to discover that Hearing Dogs for Deaf People had benefited considerably from a grant from United Grand Lodge of England, which had provided funding to buy and build their first training centre plus a working balance for the first 18 months of being formed.
Coppers had already had intensive sound training and been ‘puppy socialised’ at weekends by Ian Frinthian Franks, who was coincidentally at that time preparing to go into the chair of Lodge of St Germain No.566 in the Province of Yorkshire North and East Riding. Coppers had become increasingly familiar with masonic ritual during long walks with Ian!
The charity said they were delighted they were able to place Coppers with John, as Coppers was the first ‘Hearing dog’ to be placed with a Freemason. Having spoken to staff at Freemasons Hall in London the charity asked John “to go out and reach as many Freemasons as possible to thank them and show them how well the money donated by UGLE had been spent.” John and Mary were pleased to do this and they immediately started to tell people how they had been given Coppers who quickly carved out a Masonic role for himself!
Coppers quickly became John’s most valuable hearing aid and constant companion. Since he was already a Master Mason it was only natural that Coppers should accompany John to the Lodge of Unanimity, and the first time Coppers attended the lodge it was recorded in the minutes. Coppers quickly became familiar with the ritual, enjoyed walking in procession, knew when to sit and stand and was known to give a prompt to others in the lodge!
In February 1997 Coppers had his first studio photograph taken, which appeared in Freemasonry Today and is also displayed at Preston Masonic Hall. His television debut came in December 1999 when John was interviewed about Freemasonry for the deaf by BBC2 ‘See hear’.
In July 2000 when John went to London to receive a certificate from another masonic order, Coppers also received his own certificate, proclaiming him ‘Illustrious Bro Coppers 30th Degree’. John later that day visited Freemasons Hall and was photographed with Coppers in Grand Lodge.
In August 2001, Coppers was featured by Grand Lodge on their website and he was awarded the 'rank' of 'Masonic Hearing Dog of United Grand Lodge'.
The idea of Coppers wearing a coat had been that of John Hamill (UGLE's Director of Special Projects). UGLE enlisted the help of Mary, who was sworn to secrecy and asked to obtain permission from the charity, supply the paper pattern and liaise with the Craft and Regalia Department at Freemasons Hall. John Hamill had the coat designed and arranged for it to be crafted to the template Mary had supplied. When it arrived by post it was a complete surprise for John and Coppers.
In September 2001, Coppers was photographed in full regalia with John in the George Bath Suite at Preston Masonic Hall. The photographs were displayed in Preston Masonic Hall, Freemasons Hall and the Hearing Dogs Centre in Buckinghamshire. Coppers was also featured in the first issue of ‘The West Lancashire Freemason’.
Coppers accompanied John to Provincial Grand Lodge in 2001 when he was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Deputy Grand Superintendent of Works and again in April 2003 when John was promoted to the rank of Past Provincial Grand Scribe Nehemiah in Provincial Grand Chapter.
Coppers continued to work hard in the home, with his sound work. He was also an ambassador of the Hearing Dogs charity and accompanied John and Mary when she gave many talks about Coppers and the charitable side of Freemasonry. Their talks and PR work have reached a wide cross section of the public in an area of a 100 miles or so radius of Preston and considerably large sums of money have been sent to Hearing Dogs as a result of their work.
In 2004 Coppers was given an award for working over and above the call of duty. He alerted John when Mary needed help one night as she had collapsed and thus saved her life. He gradually worked for both John and Mary when Mary developed mobility and health problems.
The extraordinary and unique Masonic life of Coppers came to an end in July 2008. The end was quick and unexpected. At 13 years old Coppers had refused to retire. John said he was a perfectionist and most professional in all his work. In partnership with John he achieved a great deal for Freemasonry in the wide community portraying the charitable aspect.
In November 2009 a new hearing dog ‘Hayden’ was placed with John. Hayden was a beautiful six years old black Labrador who is very lovable, friendly and always wags his tail when spoken to and praised.
John says Hayden has had a difficult act to follow. As it was impossible to replace Coppers, a dog with a completely different disposition was requested, bearing in mind the role he would be expected to follow.
Hayden like Coppers before him alerts John to the door bell, telephone and wakes him up in the morning when the alarm goes off. Mary say’s the most valuable job he does is to find John wherever he is in the house and tell him Mary wants him!
John says Hayden has different strengths and so he is being allowed to carve out his own role and not emulate Coppers.
In order to mark the Bi-centenary of the Lodge of Unanimity a new Masonic coat was made for Hayden by Denise Croasdale at DMC Regalia in Preston who crafted it personally for him. Hayden is proud to wear it and grows in stature when on parade in the lodge.
The members of Excelsior Lodge No.3580 celebrated their centenary with a special meeting held at Hope Street Masonic Hall in Liverpool.
Excelsior Lodge was consecrated in Hope Street in 1912 and continued to meet there for their first 56 years. Following the ‘Great Fire’ in Hope Street in 1968, they moved to the Masonic Hall in Garston, but due to the large numbers wishing to attend the celebrations, they were given permission to hold the centenary meeting in Hope Street.
The Worshipful Master of Excelsior Lodge, Gary Jones, opened the meeting and after confirming the minutes he opened the lodge in the second and third degrees. At this point, the Inner Guard announced that the Provincial Grand Director of Ceremonies, Keith Kemp sought admission to the lodge.
Gary, said he would be pleased to admit him into the lodge, upon his entry Keith announced the arrival of the Provincial Grand Master, Peter Hosker. Peter was escorted into the lodge room by Neil MacSymons (PrDCDC) at the head of the Provincial team in full splendour with the Provincial Grand Sword Bearer, Brian Blanchfield, holding the sword upright and the Provincial Grand Standard Bearers, John Stansfield and Martin Lynton (deputising), with their standards making the procession even more majestic and colourful.
Peter was accompanied by two of his Assistant Provincial Grand Masters, Roy Skidmore and Philip Gunning, the Provincial Senior Grand Warden, Paul Renton, the Provincial Junior Grand Marden, Ian Sanderson, and the rest of the Provincial team, along with Howard Griffiths (Garston Group Chairman) and 13 other Grand Officers. With over 125 brethren attending the celebration, there was not a spare seat in the temple.
Keith introduced Peter to Gary, who gave him a very warm welcome and invited him to take the gavel and occupy the chair of King Solomon, which Peter said on this occasion he would be pleased to do. Peter then appointed his Provincial officers to their respective positions and proceeded to open Provincial Grand Lodge.
In his opening address to the lodge, Peter said he was delighted to be able to celebrate the 100 years of continuous meetings that the lodge had achieved. Peter then requested Geoffrey Lee (Provincial Grand Secretary), to read out the details on the centenary warrant, which he did in his usual articulate style. The warrant was then delivered into the hands of Peter who took great pleasure in presenting it to Gary Jones.
Peter then requested Rev Graham Halsall (Provincial Grand Chaplain) to deliver an oration. Graham started his oration by taking the assembled brethren back to the mid 1800’s to a poem by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow That was first published in the book ‘Ballads and Other Poems’ in 1841. Graham read the first verse: “The shades of night were falling fast, As through an Alpine village passed a youth, who bore, 'mid snow and ice, A banner with the strange device, Excelsior!
Graham continued his oration with a translation of ‘Excelsior’ – ‘Onwards and Upwards’ he referred to the founding of New York City and the way ‘Excelsior’ defines the city ‘How far - How high’. During the final part of the oration Graham spoke of the way ‘Excelsior’ defines Freemasons, particularly the distinguished members of the lodge. He also congratulated the lodge on its support of the charities over the years, as he noted the lodge was a Gold Patron of the Samaritan Fund and the Masonic Trust for Girls and Boys. He also congratulated the lodge on the number of younger Masons who were filling all the progressive offices, which he said was a great indication of the lodges future.
The oration was followed by a dedication prayer after which Peter closed Provincial Grand Lodge and invited Gary to resume his chair, with the lodge officers then resuming their positions.
Gary then asked David Atkinson to give a short talk on the history of the lodge.
David started by saying that the consecration of the lodge was carried out by the then Deputy Provincial Grand Master, Robert Wylie and other officers of the Provincial team on 18 April 1912. The lodge consisted of many brethren from all walks of life, from the Liverpool and surrounding areas, many of whom were either business men, traders, labourers and service personnel, including sea fairing brethren. It was agreed that the lodge would meet on the third Saturday in the month and that all brethren must wear bow ties, unless they held Grand or Provincial Grand rank.
The first regular meeting of the lodge was held on 20 April 1912 with 13 members and five visitors present to witness a double initiation, which was not unusual for the lodge in its early years.
Throughout the periods of the First and Second World Wars, the members of Excelsior were undaunted and continued with their meetings, and at the meeting in May 1919 a motion to amend the bye laws in relation to the meeting of the lodge from the third to the first Saturday of the month was unanimously carried.
Unfortunately due to the great fire in 1968 much of the lodge history was destroyed, however, as a result of the remaining books of declaration it can be seen that the lodge continued to thrive between 1923 and 1968 with many initiations taking place with subsequent second and third degree ceremonies.
The first installation meeting to be held at Garston took place on 19 April 1969 and the lodge continues to meet at the Masonic hall at Island Road South, Garston on the first Saturday of the month, October to May.
David has produced a history of the lodge which contains a dialogue of the distinguished members of the lodge throughout its100 years, which was presented to all the brethren present at the festive board.
Gary then thanked Peter and the Provincial team for a magnificent ceremony and he presented him with three cheques for £3,580 made out to West Lancashire Freemasons' Charity, The Friends of Tithebarn, The South Liverpool Foodbank and one for £800 made out to KIND. Peter said that he was delighted he had been able to attend with his team and he was pleased on behalf of the recipients to accept the magnificent sum of £11,540, which he was sure that the cheques would be gratefully received and faithfully applied.
With the centenary celebration complete, Peter retired from the lodge accompanied by Grand Officers and escorted by the Provincial team. The final lodge business was transacted by Gary, before he closed the lodge and all retired to a splendid meal at the festive board.
Roy Skidmore replied to the toast to the Grand Officers saying: “it is a great pleasure to be here and be part of this wonderful celebration.” He then proposed a toast to the Provincial Grand Master in which he gave a comprehensive summary of Peter’s career, his work in Freemasonry and his work in the community which Roy said he had drawn from the CV on the West Lancashire Provincial website entitled ‘Peter John Hosker OBE - The Man and the Mason’, which he recommended the brethren to read.
In his reply Peter said: “It was a pleasure to lead such a celebration, a centenary is a very special landmark and I enjoyed going back into the chair.” He thanked Roy for his proposition of the toast and the brethren for the way they had receivecd it. He then conveyed his warmest congratulations to the lodge members and said it was a privilege to come along and share the celebration. He then said he had found the history of the lodge very interesting and he named a few of the brethren that stood out, these included; Brian Jackson, PJGD, William Roberts (Longest subscribing member) and Sam Robinson, PAGDC, a long serving Provincial Deputy Grand Director of Ceremonies, and now Deputy Chairman of the Liverpool Group of Lodges and Chapters.
Peter then presented Gary with a past masters jewel that was returned to the lodge in 2005 by family members of Edward Dewar who had been installed as WM in 1928. Peter said the members of Excelsior had decided that the oldest known past masters jewel should be presented to the Worshipful Master of the day at the time of the lodge centenary.
Proposing the toast to Excelsior Lodge, Peter said that he hoped the lodge would continue to prosper for very many more years to come.
Gary responded to this toast saying: “It is a privilege to respond to this toast, the lodge has a really good relationship and has lots of light blues coming up through the ranks. He thanked the brethren for their tireless work over a number of years in the planning of the centenary celebration. He then presented Peter with a set of cufflinks and a tie pin that had been commissioned to celebrate the centenary. He also presented Peter and Roy with flowers for them to take home to their wives.
Three prizes, a three litres of Jack Daniels, a £50 Tesco voucher and a bottle of whisky were up for grabs in the raffle; first prize went to Stephen Lyon from Royal Victoria Lodge No.1013. The sum of £585 was raised from the raffle and this will be donated to the Hope Street Masonic Hall Appeal Fund, in thanks for allowing the lodge to hold its centenary meeting in Hope Street.
On 24 March 2012, seventy years after joining the former Royal Masonic Junior School, Tony Elliott was installed as the 2012/13 President of the Old Masonians Association at their Annual Dinner held at the Durham Masonic Hall, Old Elvet.
The Association comprises former pupils of the former
Tony’s links to the Association began in 1942 when, as a ten-year old boy, he joined the
Tony’s Masonic career began in 1954, when he was initiated into New Sanctuary Lodge No.6604 in the
To find out more about the OMA, please visit: http://www.oldmasonians.org